'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Azzun, Qalqiliya, Wed 23.1.08, Morning
Ar-Ras (Farm 8)
07:10 – 07:40 – There is scarcely any traffic and most of the time the checkpoint is empty.
Vehicles coming from the south are not checked at all while those that come from Tulkarm are checked briefly. We wait in order to hand over clothes packages to the representative of Ta'ayush [Arab Jewish Partnership] from Tulkarm.
On the way from Ar-Ras to Beit Lid we can see again the roads blocked by the army, for years, with masses of rock. The roads used to connect the villages with one another and served as a short way to the city. Roads such as the one that used to connect Ar-Ras with Beit Lid (starting next to the gas station of Ar-Ras) or the one that in the past connected Safarin with Beit Lid are now blocked after the way out from Safarin to road 57 was obstructed. Today the only way out of Safarin is a long and winding one. All this is the result of the plan to turn road 57 (leading from Jubara to Anabta junction) into an apartheid road – for Jewish people only. Who can remember and count all the blocked roads in the West Bank?
08:10 – 08:20 – We arrive when the shifts are being replaced. Nevertheless, the inspection of vehicles continues uninterruptedly thanks to the checkpoint commander of the leaving team who, tired as he must be from the night shift, makes sure that the checking doesn't stop. Despite the fact that vehicles keep coming from the direction of Tulkarm, there are never more than 10-12 vehicles in line. A minibus that comes from Tulkarm stops on the roadside and the driver approaches the soldiers post holding his documents. He asks to pass without waiting in line. We don't know the reason, but the permission is given to him.
Both entrances are open. There are no soldiers.
Qalqiliya (On the way back from Beit Iba)
10:55 – 11:10 – The few vehicles that are on the road pass quickly. There are no lines.
A white van in the parking lot in front of the checkpoint, where Israelis park when they are not allowed to drive their car into the city, arouse for some reason the soldiers' suspicion. Some soldiers gather there and the military vehicle which is at the checkpoint is sent for. The woman soldier with the dog is brought, too, and the dog sniffs around. We look to see if the are going to break into the van. They don't do it, after all.
In front of the checkpoint we discover a new commercial enterprise – a sweet corn stand, like the one that was here in the past, where you can buy corncobs for IS 2.00 each, which shows that the checkpoint is here to stay. Two boys peddle socks. An older soldier (a reservist or one of the seam-line volunteers) buys one of them a corncob.